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Hiring Hoosiers: Helping Veterans and Families launches new program to help veterans at risk of homelessness find careers

Posted at 7:18 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 19:18:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Helping Veterans and Families (HVAF) has launched new employment program aimed at veterans experiencing homelessness or those who are at risk of homelessness.

The organization received a $4.7 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis.

The new program, VetWorks: Veterans Workforce Renewing Knowledge and Skills, will have three phases.

The first will focus on developing soft skills like coming to work on time, taking instructions and working well with others. During this phase, HVAF's partnership with Downtown Indy Inc. will be utilized.

"When we talk about soft skills, having the opportunity to practice those things in real life, Downtown Indy is going to play a huge part in that," Kiara Walker, HVAF Employment Coordinator said.

Some of the veterans will help beautify downtown. The grant money will provide a stipend for work veterans do during phase one.

Phase two will focus on training and education through partnerships with Ivy Tech, Indiana Tech and other training partners like the Indiana Construction Roundtable.

Phase three is all about employment.

"Working with Indiana Chamber and other employers to place veterans into good and promising jobs that Lilly has studied and knows will make an impact on the poverty right here," Emmy Hildebrand, HVAF's VP of Strategy said.

Industries include construction, healthcare, and transportation.

"We tried to find a partners across all of those major industries and make sure that our veterans are going into a career that they want to be in," Hildebrand said.

Any veteran who is at a risk of homelessness or is just in need of employment is encouraged to reach out to HVAF at 317-951-0688.

Lilly Endowment launched Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis in 2019 because poverty and financial insecurity have been persistent challenges in Marion County.

Research has indicated that around 20 percent of residents in Indianapolis have been living in poverty and an additional 20 percent have been living close to poverty and are struggling to make ends meet.

Due to the number of high quality proposals Lilly Endowment received and the compounding challenges COVID-19 brought to bear on already vulnerable individuals and families, Lilly Endowment nearly doubled its initial funding commitment to more than $93 million to 28 different organizations.

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